Chase Happiness

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Coping with body shaming – how can we bounce back better?

Coping with body shaming can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. Very few of us have bodies that conform to society’s idea of perfection The effects of body shaming range from increasing anxiety or depression, feelings of isolation and loneliness, and worse. Over time, with the ongoing bombardment of body shaming messages, these feelings may become constant and overwhelming. Don’t lose faith, there are several strategies that you can use to help manage these feelings, protect your well-being, and build skills so body shaming doesn’t have such strong impact.

Know thyself

First and foremost, become knowledgeable about the relationship between weight and health. In so many ways, our society equates more pounds with poor health to the point where being thin with a serious eating disorder is glamorized and considered a healthy lifestyle. This isn’t to say that carrying around a lot of weight is not damaging, it definitely can be hard on our organs, joints, and overall health. Rather than just buy into narratives that are considered to be common knowledge, become educated about your own body. Doing so will help you realize that the body shamers out there just don’t know what they are talking about.

Finding a supportive medical team is a great first step. Check your blood pressure, have your blood drawn to find out about your insulin levels and cholesterol, and find out where you stand in terms of true health vs societal ideals. What would be a truly healthy weight for you? It’s probably not anywhere near what it takes to look like a movie star. If your medical assessment comes back with some significant concerns, approach your health from that perspective and forget about how your body is judged by people who don’t love and support you.

Another part of deciding how to approach your body shape & weight is to think deeply about how your feel in your body. This one can be challenging since how we feel about our body is so often connected to how others have made us feel about our body. Mindfulness and somatic practices, such as, yoga and Tai Chi, can have a huge impact here! As we turn inward we pay deep attention to how we feel and what we think, we develop a more intuitive understanding of ourselves. Tune into how you feel and how your feelings change over time. Perhaps you start walking every few days, how does that feel? Do you sit taller during the day? Are you more inclined to move around your office or house now? Notice these things and find your own way towards appreciating your body.

More strategies for coping with body shaming

  1. Focus on self-love and acceptance. It can be easy to internalize negative comments and feel shame or embarrassment about your weight. However, it is important to remember that your worth is not determined by your body size or shape. Practice self-love and acceptance by focusing on your positive qualities and accomplishments, and remind yourself that your worth is not tied to your weight.
  2. Surround yourself with supportive people. Seek out friends, family members, or support groups who are accepting and supportive of you, regardless of your weight. Having a supportive community can help to counteract negative comments or ridicule from others and provide a safe space to talk about your feelings and experiences. If you are not sure on how to find a support group, ask your medical / mental health team or check out this online support group finder
  3. Practice healthy coping mechanisms. Engage in activities that help to reduce stress and promote mental and emotional well-being. This could include exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature. Find healthy coping mechanisms that work for you and make them a regular part of your self-care routine.
  4. Seek professional help. If you are struggling to cope with ridicule or negative comments about your weight, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call 988. They can provide guidance and support in managing these feelings and developing coping strategies that work for you.

Remember, you are worthy and deserving of respect and kindness, regardless of your weight. By practicing self-love and acceptance, surrounding yourself with supportive people, practicing healthy coping mechanisms, and seeking professional help when needed, you can learn to manage the emotional toll of ridicule and focus on your overall well-being.

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